This is a guest post by Paige Ellingson, a graduate in business and communication and a writer for The Work Loft, currently based in SE Asia.
Working from home isolation is real for some freelancers. Especially for those who are used to engaging with coworkers and clients in a typical 9 to 5 office environment.
While advanced cloud computing technology changed the concept of work into a more mobile bring-your-own-device or BYOD arrangement, feeling isolated and separated from the pack can occur among freelancers who have opted to leave the typical office work setup and routine.
According to a recent Gallup survey, around 43 percent of employees surveyed reported working remotely from the office. This figure represents a four percent increase from 2012 numbers.
Moreover, employees spend more hours working away from the office, and flexible scheduling and work from home opportunities often influence their decision to take an offer or leave a current job.
However, work flexibility and less face-to-face interaction with others also come with depression and health risks due to hours spent apart from other people.
For those who are feeling isolated from the rest of the working population, joining a coworking space may help bridge that particular need to interact and socialize with other people while still achieving one’s daily freelance goals.
Coworking spaces are often zoned into various functional areas to accommodate the freelancer’s needs for work and socialization.
Aside from this advantage, below are other coworking space benefits for the newbie or experienced freelancer.
Enhances Professional Networking.
One of the benefits of coworking is its potential to create communities bound by professional and career interests.
For freelancers looking for other people with a similar career background as well as ways for expanding their customer network, a coworking space could help fulfill these requirements.
While social media platforms and forums can facilitate online introductions and even collaboration, personally interacting with other freelance professionals on a daily basis helps strengthen communication and networking skills.
Negotiating terms and brainstorming ideas with customers in real life also helps strengthen these skills.
Establishes More Focused Partnerships.
While many coworking venues are open to a wide variety of freelance professionals and startups across different sectors, in the future there will be more spaces that will cater to professionals of a specific industry.
According to a recently published article in Forbes magazine, revenue considerations will spur the building of coworking spaces for niche communities.
So, expect venues designed specifically for certain industry groups such as writers, engineers and designers, and technology start-ups to increase in the future.
While these spaces may be too industry-specific for some freelancers, this also offers a more focused venue for expanding one’s professional network. So discussions and collaboration will be more specific and in line with community needs.
Being part of these defined spaces builds stronger bonds among like-minded professionals.
Onsite Community Support.
With its solo workstations, open spaces for collaboration, and corners for small group meetings, a typical coworking space offers a wide range of work setup options for the freelancer.
While freelancers can choose to work on a solo project for some time, they are not entirely isolated from the rest of the community. Aside from the connected infrastructure that offers reliable internet service 24/7, coworking staff and other freelancers are always around for a brief chat.
Coworking space benefits freelancers who regularly require a venue for meeting clients.
While cafes (or the so-called coffices) and restaurants offer an informal way to discuss business concerns, a physical space for meeting clients adds a professional layer to the transaction. Clients and freelancers who are feeling isolated in a meeting outside a typical conference room or office will feel more comfortable in a coworking space.
While social media also spurred the success of the freelancing movement, these applications and platforms cannot take the place of face-to-face interaction with other professionals and clients.
According to the Harvard Business Review, freelancers thrive in coworking spaces due to the connections that they create on a regular basis.
In fact, emphasizing their role as a place for hospitality and interaction, the article noted that operators of the different coworking venues design their space to offer more than just a “place for work.” These places often offer extras such as corner cafes for sipping coffee and trading industry tips or strengthening project partnerships among freelancers.
Without a doubt, leaving the rat race offers opportunities for collaboration with other freelancers in a coworking set-up.
According to an article, coworking spaces are poised for growth with thousands of operators now managing these types of venues all over the globe.
Aside from breaking that feeling of working from home isolation, coworking space benefits freelancers with different levels of experience. Finding the right type of collaborative space in one’s city is the first step, while reaping the benefits of coworking comes after.
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